A Look Ahead at Season 5 of COMMUNITY, Featuring the Return of Dan Harmon and Starring Joel McHale

     January 1, 2014

community-slice

Fans of NBC’s cult comedy series Community were certainly happy to hear the news that Dan Harmon would be returning as showrunner, but will the show be able to hit the ground running after a season without him?  Viewers will be able to judge for themselves shortly, but we’ve got a sneak preview of season five to share with you ahead of time.  Rest assured that we’ll keep everything spoiler-free, suffice it to say that there are some great character turns, cameos and one-liners early on (no surprises there).

Community returns to NBC with a one-hour special starting Thursday, January 2nd at 8pm.  Hit the jump for our preview.

community-season-5-posterAlthough the Greendale study group has already managed to attend a two-year community college for four years, the fifth season manages to once again unite them all in the hallowed halls of learning.  Greendale is great as a central location, but after four years it’s difficult to find anything fresh about it.  The paintball-riddled walls of the school may have gotten new coats of paint over the years, but it still acts as a rigid structure that keeps the students, and the narrative, from developing into something more.

That being said, the study group has all new reasons for returning to Greendale, some of which are predictably quirky while others are downright heartbreaking.  Luckily, this transition is in Harmon’s hands. He attempts to not only take his characters back to their original personalities, but even metaphorically reboots the central plot point of the series in a fun team-building montage.  Community needs this fresh approach after last season’s substandard run that attempted to replicate Harmon’s unique vision but only managed to produce a pale reflection of it.

For all of Harmon’s machinations, the early episodes of season five are still a bit shaky.  It’s not surprising, considering the new season is a patchwork that incorporates Harmon’s original vision along with the more recent work of Moses Port and David Guarascio.  Some jokes land better than others, which, of course, happens in any comedy.  The ones that miss do so mostly because they rely on what have become cliches of the series (ie the Dean’s obsession with Jeff, Abed’s meta references, Jeff’s monologues, etc), but when characters step outside of their expected behavior we get some of season five’s best moments.

community joel mchale yvette nicole brownWhile the familiar faces have gotten a character overhaul of sorts for the new season, the show is further freshened up with altogether new arrivals.  Early appearances from Jonathan Banks (Breaking Bad) and Walton Goggins (Justified) bring a new energy to the show along with new characters for the gang to play off of.  The new additions I’ve seen so far have worked great, whether it’s for a one-episode cameo or a season-long addition.  And fans won’t have to wait too long to find out the narrative reason for Donald Glover only appearing in five episodes this season.

If season four of Community spooked you away from this show, now’s the time to come back.  I’d give it a few episodes if you’re not hooked right away as it will likely take some time for both the show’s cast and its viewers to get back into the groove. If you took no issue with last season, then Harmon’s return probably won’t mean much to you one way or the other.  At the same time, if the humor of Community never appealed to you to begin with, there’s nothing revolutionary that’s going to bring you into the fold now.  But for those of you, like myself, who were fans of Community from the outset, season five is off to a promising start.

Community returns to NBC with a one-hour special starting Thursday, January 2nd at 8pm.

Around The Web

Television

FX Orders Kurt Sutter’s THE BASTARD EXECUTIONER to Series

'True Blood' actor Stephen Moyer and Katey Segal lead the cast of the 13th Century-set drama.

See First Photos of WET HOT AMERICAN SUMMER: FIRST DAY OF CAMP

And they are everything fans could possibly want.

Red Nose Day: Watch Anna Kendrick as Indiana Jones, Kermit Singing, More

In the first Red Nose Day special on American shores (benefitting the charity Comic Relief), celebrities such as Julia Roberts, Hugh Grant, Anna Kendrick, and even Kermit the Frog all showed up to participate in the live telecast.

Watch GAME OF THRONES: THE MUSICAL Starring Peter Dinklage, Kit Harington, and More

The 'Game of Thrones' cast and Coldplay got together to create a 12-minute sketch to raise money for Red Nose Day.

TEEN WOLF Season 5 Trailer: Senior Year Bites

Dylan O'Brien and Tyler Posey lead the supernatural series, which looks to be taking a dark turn in its fifth season.

HEROES REBORN: Greg Grunberg Returning as Matt Parkman

The telepathic detective returns in a guest arc in the revival series.

First AMERICAN CRIME STORY Pictures Reveal Cuba Gooding Jr. as O.J. Simpson

John Travolta, Sarah Paulson, and more bring the trial of O.J. Simpson to life in Ryan Murphy's FX true crime miniseries.

Epix Developing First Original Series BERLIN STATION and Comedy GRAVES with Nick Nolte

First every network wanted to have its own reality programming, now they all want to move to scripted. Epix's first two projects seem ambitious, though; could they put the network on the map?

Cinemax and Justin Lin Developing Bruce Lee-Inspired Drama Series WARRIOR

The crime drama is inspired by writings from Bruce Lee himself, and will be executive produced by 'Banshee' co-creator Jonathan Tropper.

Wednesday TV Ratings: MODERN FAMILY Finale Down, 500 QUESTIONS Debuts Soft

Surprisingly low numbers for 'Modern Family' as well as 'black-ish' in ABC's normally strong Wednesday comedy bloc.

Page 1 of 68212345...102030...Last »